Insights into the pathophysiology of iron metabolism in Pythium insidiosum infections

Vet Microbiol. 2013 Mar 23;162(2-4):826-830. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2012.10.036. Epub 2012 Nov 7.


Pythium insidiosum causes life-threatening disease in mammals. Animals with pythiosis usually develop anemia, and most human patients are reported to have thalassemia and the major consequence of thalassemia, iron overload. Therefore, this study evaluated the iron metabolism in rabbits experimentally infected with P. insidiosum. Ten infected rabbits were divided into two groups: one groups received a placebo, and the other was treated with immunotherapy. Five rabbits were used as negative controls. The hematological and biochemical parameters, including the iron profile, were evaluated. Microcytic hypochromic anemia was observed in the infected animals, and this condition was more accentuated in the untreated group. The serum iron level was decreased, whereas the transferrin level was increased, resulting in low saturation. The level of stainable iron in hepatocytes was markedly decreased in the untreated group. A high correlation was observed between the total iron binding capacity and the lesion size, and this correlation likely confirms the affinity of P. insidiosum for iron. The data from this study corroborate the previous implications of iron in the pathogenesis of pythiosis in humans and animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hypochromic / metabolism
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / parasitology
  • Anemia, Hypochromic / veterinary
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Pythiosis / blood
  • Pythiosis / metabolism*
  • Pythiosis / veterinary*
  • Pythium / metabolism*
  • Rabbits


  • Iron

Supplementary concepts

  • Anemia, hypochromic microcytic